What can I do with a politics degree?
Politics students tend to be up to speed with current affairs and interested in leadership and the ways in which ideas and principles are put into action – attitudes that can be useful in the workplace. They are typically enthusiastic about their subject, opinionated and hardworking, and used to arguing a case and presenting their views. Many politics graduates go on to further study, often in specialised areas of politics such as international relations and international human rights. Others pursue careers in areas such as business, HR and finance.
Skills for your CV
The kind of skills you will have developed include:
- gathering information, assessing and interpreting it
- leading and participating in discussions and groups
- organising workloads and working to deadlines
- developing opinions and ideas
- essay writing, presentation and analytical skills
- reading pages of text and picking out the essential points
- stating a case
- solving problems
- assimilating facts
- expressing yourself clearly (certainly in writing, and probably in person too)
Job roles and career areas you could work in
Fresh out of university, there are plenty of options – public services, the Civil Service and local government, non-governmental organisation (NGO) work, and research.
Even with a minimum amount of training, many organisations are looking for enthusiastic graduates fresh from university. Potential career paths could include:
- aid worker/humanitarian worker
- charities fundraiser
- Civil Service administrator
- government research officer
- health service manager
- investment analyst
- logistics or distribution manager
- management accountant
- marketing manager (social media)
- market research executive
- political party research officer
- public affairs consultant (lobbyist)
- public relations (PR) officer
- retail buyer
- social researcher
What do politics graduates go on to do?
Here’s what politics graduates who finished their degrees in 2016 were doing six months after graduating, according to the What do graduates do? report published in 2017.
|Full-time employment in the UK||45.0|
|Part-time employment in the UK||10.6|
|Working and studying||5.9|
Source: What do graduates do? 2017
Key areas of employment for fresh politics graduates
These are the top five areas of work taken up by 2016 politics graduates six months after graduation, according to the 2017 What do graduates do? report.
|Areas of employment||Percentage|
|Business, HR and finance professionals||20.3|
|Marketing, PR and sales professionals||16.9|
|Retail, catering, waiting and bar staff||13.4|
|Clerical, secretarial and numerical clerks||9.7|
Source: What do graduates do? 2017
Which careers attract politics students?
The public sector was the most popular career choice for students of politics identified by a 2018 survey of more than 60,000 undergraduates carried out by trendence UK, a partner of TARGETjobs’ parent company GTI. Just under a tenth (9.5%) of politics students who participated in the survey said they were interested in this area. The most popular careers for students of politics were as follows:
|Public sector||9.5% expressed an interest|
|Accounting and financial management||9.4|
|Charity and not-for-profit||9.1|
|Law – barristers||6.7|
|Law - solicitors||4.7|
Source: trendence UK Graduate Survey 2018
Famous people with politics degrees
While some politics graduates do get elected into positions of power, it's possible to turn your degree into a successful career without making politics your life’s work. Consider the following celebrities:
- George Alagiah – the BBC newsreader studied at Durham University, where he developed his interest in journalism.
- Tim Farron – studied at Newcastle University before being elected as an MP and going on to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.
- Miranda Hart – studied political science at the University of the West of England before becoming a comedian and actress.
- Barack Obama – put his political science degree to good use when he was elected president of the US.